Call for Improved Hospital Services in Melbourne’s West
At the council meeting on 17 May 2011 I successfully raised a motion seeking the details of annual state government funding for the Williamstown Hospital. The report was presented at tonight’s council meeting, and shows the following funding for infrastructure for Western Health (Footscray, Sunshine, Sunbury and Williamstown campuses) since 2007:
Sunshine – $233.6 million
Footscray – $24.8 million
Sunbury – $21.6 million
Williamstown – $4 million
There was also an additional amount of $5 million for Emergency Department short stays and Critical Care across the four campuses.
The appendix from tonight’s meeting reveals further details about the funding breakdown for the Sunshine Campus.
The report from Western Health shows it is essentially one hospital with four campuses, each providing different medical services as follows:
Sunshine – Tertiary, emergency, maternity and paediatric
Footscray – Elective role in specific streams, emergency, critical care
Sunbury – Low complexity surgery, dialysis and clinics
Williamstown – Elective surgery, dialysis and rehabilitation.
Some patients require treatment in multiple hospitals because – unlike in the eastern suburbs – there is no longer a “general hospital” in the western suburbs.
Interestingly, and of concern, the Emergency Department at Williamstown Hospital was not mentioned in the information provided by Western Health. This raises questions about its long term future.
I also raised the issue of the disparity of hospital services between the east and western suburbs. The following map provides a graphic view of the location of public hospitals across Melbourne. One can see where the funding is going and the disparity of services, despite the Western Suburbs containing the largest population growth area in Victoria and a higher prevalence of chronic disease compared to the rest of the state.
I am pleased to have raised this issue and will continue to lobby for improved health services in Melbourne’s west.
Cr Tony Briffa JP